Indebtedness and Financialization in Everyday Life
This chapter offers a novel reading of the political economy and cultural economy literature on financialization and debt as it coalesces around understandings of “indebtedness.” It aims to provide a comprehensive account of how indebtedness is driving, sustaining and reproducing financialization, but in ways that also make financialization vulnerable and fragile. The household becomes a conceptual lens that makes visible how the mundane everyday activities of households expose the vulnerabilities of financialization. Importantly, both political and cultural economy recognizes the centrality of debt – as a social, legal and material relation – in the advent of financialization. Most households are made worse-off by financialization, despite the common-sense consensus that access to financial gains has been “democratized.” Credit-fuelled asset appreciation in residential housing is a driving force of financialization that maps closely on to households’ desire for secure shelter and a long-term savings vehicles.